It’s that time of year again…snowfall, warm cocoa, cozy fires and Christmas Slashers! To us horror fans, it’s tradition to bust out 1978’s “Halloween” every October and “Silent Night, Deadly” night every December. But as great as those two films are, it’s nice to have variety, right? There are actually over a dozen retro Slasher films that center around that jolly time of year! Lucky for you I have a rundown of them all so you can look no further for your retro Christmas Slasher titles.
Silent Night, Bloody Night (1972)
This drive-in classic stars Mary Woronov and John Carradine. Jeffery returns home after the mysterious death of his Grandfather. He decides to try and sell the house only to encounter problems when a mental patient escapes and takes refuge there. Lots of creepy moments and some good suspenseful harassing phone call action!
Tales From The Crypt (1972)
This classic British anthology is based on the old EC comic of the same name. This is the ORIGINAL “Tales From The Crypt” film. It contains the Xmas short “And All Through The House”. It tells the story of a woman who murdered her husband on Christmas Eve for his money. However, a maniac dressed in a Santa constume escapes a nearby asylum and picks her to terrorize while she is trying to dispose of her late husband’s body. This is the FIRST time a Killer in a Santa costume was ever used on film.
Home For The Holidays (1972)
This is a spooky little made-for-tv movie that stars Sally Field. Four Sisters return home to visit their dying Father who believes his current wife is poisoning him to death. No one really believes him until a big storm happens, trapping them there. Sure enough, someone in a rain poncho and welding a pitch fork is bumping them off. Is it the wife, or someone else? Personally, I LOVE tv movies from this era and this one really hits the spot. Plenty of atmosphere and mood to keep one interested on a lonely dark night, cuddled up on the couch with some popcorn.
Black Christmas (1974)
It’s Christmas break and someone is lurking the local Sorority. It starts with harassing phone calls, then the girls who stayed behind start disappearing. Directed by Bob Clark (A Christmas Story – yes, THAT “other” Christmas movie) and featuring John Saxon. It had a gorier remake in 2006, but it doesn’t have the class or elegance of the original.
Christmas Evil (1980)
A man obsessed with Christmas snaps one day at his job at the local Toy Factory and decides to go on a killing spree dress as Santa. This basic idea was used 4 years later in “Silent Night, Deadly Night”. It’s more low budget, and also has dashes of black comedy. Worth watching atleast once.
To All A Goodnight (1980)
David Hess (“Krug” from the notorious “Last House on The Left”) directed this VHS obscurity. VERY similar to “Black Christmas”, it features girls in a Sorority on Christmas break getting murdered. Only, the Killer is actually wearing a Santa suit. Sadly, this one was only ever released to VHS. The acting is pretty terrible in parts, but it does have it’s charm. The pot references, full frontal nudity and creative death scenes should keep Slasher fans satisfied. Hard to find, but diehards will know where to look.
Don’t Open Till Christmas (1984)
This one is a bit different. Someone is stalking the London streets murdering men dressed as Santa. Police must stop him before it becomes an annual tradition. This film took over 2 years to complete after several directors where replaced and many re-writes and re-shoots. A bit clumsy in parts for that reason, but it has enough inventive kills to keep it interesting.
Silent Night, Deadly Night (1984)
What can be said about this one that hasn’t already been said? It’s THE Christmas horror movie. Parents protested it, it was heavily censored and features one of Scream Queen Linnea Quigley’s first roles. It starts as a psychological thriller then goes full Slasher mode after the now grown and fully mentally scarred Billy starts offing people on Christmas Eve. Pretty classic stuff here. Young boy witnesses parents murdered by a man dressed as Santa, later him and his brother are psychologically abused in a Catholic orphanage, years down the road Billy is forced to be a Toy Store Santa then all Hell breaks loose. Some very gory and mean-spirited kills including the infamous deer antler scene. If you haven’t seen this, watch it now.
Tales of The Third Dimension (1984)
Super bizarre “3D” anthology obscurity. Notable for the last story “Visions of Sugar Plum” featuring a psychotic Grandmother in a wheelchair. Poor Dennis and Suzie are forced to stay with her one Christmas when their parents decide to vacation to Hawaii without them. Very strange, best enjoyed under the influence of just about anything. If I remember correctly, Santa shows up at the end to kill the Grandma and save the kids. It’s all such a haze…
Silent Night, Deadly Night 2 (1987)
Fun, campy sequel to the original film featuring the younger brother Ricky, now all grown up himself. He is in a mental institute and is forced to recall the events of his childhood to a Doctor. We re-visit classic scenes from the original film, and eventually move into new footage of Ricky trying to live a “normal” life before the everyday annoyances of society drive him mad and he kills some people including the classic “Garbage Day” segment. Towards the end of the film Ricky murders his Doctor and goes on one final rampage, this time to Mother Superior’s house to kill that bitch once and for all. Best ending ever.
Silent Night, Deadly Night III (1989)
B-horror veteran Bill Moseley steps in to play the catatonic Ricky in this third and final installment of the original trilogy. Laura is a young woman with ESP who somehow has a psychic connection to Ricky. On Christmas Eve Ricky escapes the hospital and decides to follow Laura and her brother to her Grandmother’s house, leaving a trail of bodies behind. Mediocre sequel that lacks the camp value of the original, but not too bad by today’s standards. The only movie featuring a comatose Killer with an exposed brain.
A young woman and her friend are trapped in a department store with a Killer elf (all part of this bizarre Nazi experiment-subplot) and it’s up to Dan Haggerty (a renegade Santa) to save them. Strange and fairly boring, it does feature some decent effects. Also only available on VHS.
Silent Night, Deadly Night 5 (1991)
I skipped Part 4 because it has virtually NO Slasher film elements. However, in Part 5 we are treated to some awesome Killer toy action! Brian Yuzna wrote a very unique story here featuring Toy Maker Micky Rooney (who ironically protested the release of the original film). A young boy witnesses a toy murder his Father one Christmas Eve. A year later similar toys arrive to his home wreaking more havoc. Who is the madman behind their creation and why? Some perverse moments here, but a fun in-name-only sequel worth checking out.